Business
June 19, 2012

Five factors for managed print services

Governments throughout Canada are facing a number of challenges, from reducing operational costs to meeting sustainability goals to procurement reform. The stars are currently aligned for the MPS business model.

The reality is most people don’t think much about their printing infrastructure; they just expect it to work. But many organizations are unaware of the real costs of printing a piece of paper, and how transforming that function into a managed service can not only save money, but help increase productivity and meet important sustainability goals.

So what exactly is managed print services (MPS)? In its recent Magic Quadrant for Managed Print Services Worldwide report, published October 2011, research firm Gartner describes MPS as a “service offered by an external provider to optimize and manage a company’s document output to certain objectives, such as driving down costs, improving efficiencies and productivity, and reducing the IT support workload.”

MPS, at its most basic level, is a complete print services offering that manages all elements of a department’s printing ecosystem.

So why are the stars aligned for a greater adoption of the MPS business model in the public sector? Here are five key factors:

Operational savings: All levels of government are looking for operational savings. Government departments are more aware of the challenges around print infrastructure; at the same time there are financial and human resources strains on IT organizations, along with fast-approaching sustainability targets.

Increased strain on IT resources: Initiatives such as Shared Services have resulted in departments needing to revise resourcing plans and priorities. With fewer dedicated personnel within departments, the day-to-day strain is real. Public sector executives are being asked to decide which activities are “core” and which are “non-core” and whether it makes sense for IT resources to be involved in the maintenance and support of the print infrastructure.

Sustainability targets: The government of Canada has committed to reducing its environmental footprint, from the energy used to heat and cool its buildings across the country to the disposal of electronic equipment at the end of its useful life.

As an example, under the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy the government has developed new targets in the areas of green buildings, greenhouse gas emissions, electronic waste, printing units, paper consumption and green procurement.

As of March 31, 2013, each government department is expected to achieve an 8:1 average ratio of office employees to printing units. This involves using strategies such as managed print services to facilitate improvements to organizations’ imaging environments with regards to greening and increased efficiencies. Each department is also expected to reduce paper consumption by 20 percent per office employee.

Procurement reform: The federal government has also recognized the limitations and challenges of the current procurement approach to the office equipment category. As part of a proposed national procurement strategy for office equipment, released in August 2011, the government is exploring the role and potential ROI of the MPS business model.

As part of this strategy, Public Works and Government Services Canada has stated that it is working to “lay the framework to assist departments in applying a fleet management approach to procurement, operation, management and disposal of office equipment.” This strategy aims to provide a uniform and consistent national approach that, when implemented, will improve the ease and effectiveness of the procurement process for all stakeholders.

Government’s national procurement strategy around office equipment represents a move away from a commoditized, transactional approach toward a validated and transformational business arrangement that makes sense — many public and private organizations have already experienced important direct and in-direct savings from MPS.

Savings: A properly executed MPS strategy can reduce a government organization’s print infrastructure costs by up to 30 percent. Initial savings are a direct result of consolidation and optimization of printing infrastructure, but the saving potential increases dramatically as an organization’s MPS begins to include an integrated approach to workflow and document processes.

Aside from the more obvious savings, there are also indirect savings that are harder to measure, such as space, energy consumption, hardware management, billing and office administration, as well as impact to other projects.

Conclusion: The stars are aligning.

Patrick Kealey is a business development executive with Xerox Global Services at Xerox Canada (Patrick.Kealey@xerox.com).

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